Located in the ocean between Manzanita and Cannon Beach, the Cape Falcon Marine Reserve site
is a 20-square-mile area dedicated to conservation and scientific research.
Seeking to expand land-to-sea connectivity along the northern Oregon Coast, North Coast Land Conservancy adopted the Cape Falcon Marine Reserve program, formerly run by a “Friends of” group, on Feb. 1. The program serves the critical function of educating on and advocating for the abundant values the Cape Falcon Marine Reserve site has to offer the state of Oregon.
“Bringing on Cape Falcon Marine Reserve as a new program is a natural next step for our work in the Coastal Edge and in cultivating a land-to-sea conservation corridor,” NCLC Executive Director Katie Voelke said.
Nadia Gardner, volunteer chair of Friends of Cape Falcon Marine Reserve, added, “There is no fence between the Oregon Coast’s magnificent mountains, forests, rivers and streams, beaches and ocean. They are all inextricably interconnected.”
The marine reserve is located on the Oregon North Coast, just off Oswald West State Park and NCLC’s adjacent Rainforest Reserve, between the towns of Cannon Beach and Manzanita. The 20-square-mile site encompasses the marine reserve, as well as two marine protected areas.
Cape Falcon is the northernmost site within Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Marine Reserve Program. It was established in 2016 for conservation and scientific research. The ODFW Marine Reserves Program uses a variety of research tools to monitor marine reserves and learn about Oregon’s ocean, tailoring which tools they use at the Cape Falcon site to its unique characteristics.
The Friends of Cape Falcon Marine Reserve—a coalition of statewide and coastal nonprofit organizations and volunteers—supported ODFW by doing public outreach, community science and stewardship. That will continue under NCLC. The founders and leaders will act as an advisory committee within NCLC.
“For eight years, Friends of Cape Falcon Marine Reserve have been engaging our coastal communities in the marine reserve site and Oregon’s ocean,” Gardner said. “Through integration into North Coast Land Conservancy, we welcome the opportunity to connect with more people in this important work for us and for future generations.”
As part of the transition, Kristin Bayans, who was serving as the Cape Falcon Marine Reserve coordinator under the Friends group, joined NCLC’s team. Bayans earned a Master of the Arts in Museum Studies from George Washington University. Her previous positions include work at The Smithsonian Institution, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), and Portland Art Museum. She also has volunteer experience with Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition, Oregon State Parks, Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve, and Portland Audubon.
Gardner also expressed gratitude for the support of Lower Nehalem Community Trust (LNCT), which served as the group’s fiscal sponsor since its founding in 2014.
On behalf of LNCT’s board and staff, President Debbie Moberly said, “Congratulations to the Friends of Cape Falcon Marine Reserve for successfully developing a program that educates our citizens and advocates for the protection of our beloved ocean. We are delighted that this important program will continue to thrive as it becomes integrated with the goals and work of NCLC.”